One last Olympic oddity

Is it really a worldly competition anymore? It seems like 3/4 of the athletes in the games these days go to school in America, train there, and then go back home to play for their home country.


 
 
 

10 Responses to “One last Olympic oddity”

  1. Elayne Riggs
    30. August 2004 at 13:10

    Sounds like that levels the playing field a bit, since many countries are too poor (in part because of the policies of the rich countries) to afford luxuries like athletic facilities.

  2. Augie De Blieck Jr.
    30. August 2004 at 14:02

    Hell, why even compete as representatives of countries? That’s unfair. I mean, just because you’re from a third world dictatorship, does that mean people should root against you?

    Let’s drop all national affiliations at the Olympics next. Let’s just compete for the best in the world on an individual basis.

    No, you know what? That’s unfair to the people who worked so hard to get to the Olympics. Everyone deserves a medal, just for competing.

    How far does your quest to “level the playing field” go here, Elayne? Should we dock the Kenyans 10 minutes each in the long distance running competitions because they live in a world in which running 26 miles a day for a gallon of milk is commonplace? (Yes, that’s a slight exaggeration.) That’s unfair to runners who come from the world of the internal combustion engine.

    etc. etc. etc.

  3. Mark
    30. August 2004 at 16:36

    Ouch, Augie.

    I don’t really see Elayne judging this practice, merely stating why it happens.

    So, to take your position to the logical conclusion, how is athletics different than, say, education? Should we be upset about training engineers and scientists and then watching them go back home to work in their native countries?

    Should only American citizens should be allowed to attend colleges in the US?

  4. Augie De Blieck Jr.
    30. August 2004 at 19:26

    Mark -> Do you read Elayne’s blog at all? You’ll see where she’s coming from. And I think her judgment is implicit in her “levels the playing field” comments.

    As to education: Hey, you pay your money, you get your education. I don’t have a problem with that. So long as my taxes aren’t going to subsidize the educations of people from other countries here, at least… It’s bad enough I have to pay the ridiculous taxes for some ridiculous government programs. At least let it benefit the people at home first.

    And, sure, that’ll follow through to the athletic training at the colleges, too. I just question the point of national distinctions in an ever-shrinking world. And knowing Elayne’s desire for everything to be fair (she may say “equal opportunity,” but I reckon she more often than not means “equal outcomes”), I was curious how far it would go. I took it to an illogical extreme for effect. At least, I’d HOPE it was illogical.

    There is one case which vexed me a little, though. One of the track stars held dual citizenship in American and the Dominican Republic. He grew up in the States, trained in the States, and played in the Olympics for D.R., because he’d be a big fish in a little pond over here. Er, sorry, he wanted to give them hope of bringing home a medal. And he did, sure enough.

    Yes, part of me is more than happy to let him do that. USA had over 100 medals. We won’t miss one. And good for another smaller country winning a medal. But part of me thinks it’s horribly dishonest, and a bit of a cheat for that country.

    Of course, with the Olympics allowing NBA players into the basketball competitions, I suppose it’s all a moot point. The Olympics already hold fine distinctions of the past in ill regard.

  5. EarlLantern
    30. August 2004 at 22:22

    Wow. Is someone feeling a little jet lagged? ;-)

  6. Augie De Blieck Jr.
    30. August 2004 at 23:56

    Wow, I joke and the stuff starts coming true. IN THE SAME DAY:

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2004401679,00.html

    There’s a move on to unite all European Countries in the next Olympics as being from “The European Union.” Not Britian. Not Germany. Not Belgium. Just “European Union.”

    heh

    I’m never that far off, am I?

  7. Juan Pablo
    31. August 2004 at 05:30

    Yeah, I’m sure they’ll be able to do that XD

  8. Andrew
    31. August 2004 at 09:29

    I don’t think thats always the case. Alot of the Australian athletes are homegrown and educated as far as I know.

    They may travel for competition but they don’t necessarily live overseas entirely. Winter Olympics is a little different though. Australia doesn’t often get enough snow to really get good training in.

    Australia did pretty well all up.

    Sorry had to fly the flag.

  9. Augie De Blieck Jr.
    31. August 2004 at 09:36

    Andrew -> No problem. Fly it all you like around here. I exaggerated the 3/4 number anyway. It’s easy to do when you watch prepackaged coverage of the Olympics meant to create a soap opera out of a sporting event. Olympics: Sports For Women. I’m surprised Lifetime and We aren’t battling for the rights to the event.

    Besides, Australia gave the world Loudy Tourky. We thank you for that.

    But you do bring up a good point about the different between winter and summer Olympics. I would say that if you’re in a Caribbean islands, perhaps you shouldn’t worry too much about competing in the Winter Olympics. I’m sure you can have an ice skating rink to train in down there, but I won’t laugh at the country for not sending a luge or moguls team. The Jamaican bobsled team was a quaint curiosity item. Not the rule. I don’t have any problem with a country not competing in an event that its climate won’t allow for, basically. I’m not going to complain about the lack of a level playing field there. That’s just the way it is.

  10. kelvingreen
    3. September 2004 at 11:45

    Oh god, Augie, don’t go looking to The Sun for your news! Your politics may prevent you from really engaging with The Guardian or the BBC (you may do better with The Times or The Telegraph), but don’t wheel out The Sun to prove a point. It’s barely above National Enquirer levels of serious journalism… And yes, I know you were probably joking. At least I hope you were. :) I doubt that the EU would field a combined Olympic team, and I also doubt that it would have much effect, even if such a thing would ever happen. The EU countries all tend to specialise in the same sports, so I don’t see the advantage, beyond stacking the competition as the Americans do (that’s not to say that the US doesn’t field good athletes; it does, but it also fields a lot of them). The only sport I can see the EU having an advantage in if this were to happen is football (by which I mean the game where the foot and the ball actually come into contact with each other more than once per session), but there are whole different rules as to how football is run which would prevent an EU team being fielded (much in the same way that Britain can’t enter the Olympic football tournament).